One of the things I always struggle with is lunch, in part the preparation and also the mundanity of it. If you're like me, I end up making the same thing for lunch every day, and whilst it's healthy it's not exactly exciting after a while. I like to prepare my lunches as much as possible in advance so I don't have to faff around too much in the morning before work. I've always lazily assumed this couldn't be done with salads, however I was wrong. This will be the first of what I hope to be a series of salad recipes, all based around the same core ingredients combined with different spices and add-ons (for want of a better word). By preparing the components in advance, you can keep the salad in the fridge, ready to portion up before work which will take mere minutes. With that being said you can always make this salad for a Summer's meal as well. I'd suggest serving with some baked salmon.
Hands-on Time 25 minutes
Baking Time 60 minutes
1 Butternut squash
1 Red onion
3 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Cumin seeds
6-7 Beetroots (Ready cooked and vacuum packed)
2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Honey (runny)
100g Walnut halves
Pot or jar with a lid
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C(Fan)/350°F/Gas mark 4.
Peel and de-seed the squash before chopping up into bite-sized chunks.
Peel and coarsely dice the onion.
Add to the roasting tray along with the squash.
Pour over 1 tbsp of olive oil followed by the cumin seeds.
Mix together with your hands so the squash and onion are evenly coated.
Pop into the oven for 60 minutes. Half way through gently turn the squash and onion using a spatula.
Prepare the lentils whilst the squash and onion are baking.
Add the lentils to the saucepan and fill with 400ml of water.
Bring to the boil over a high heat, before turning down to the lowest it will go and simmer for 30 minutes.
When the time is up strain the lentils using a sieve, leaving them in it to rest.
Once the squash and onion have finished cooking, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray.
Pour the red wine vinegar, honey, and remaining 2 tbsp of olive into in a pot or jar. Cover with the lid and shake to combine.
Chop up the beetroots into bite-sized pieces and add to the mixing bowl along with the lentils.
Pour over the olive oil dressing and stir with a spatula.
If you are preparing the salad in advance for lunches during the week, it’s best to store the components in individual containers in the fridge until the day you plan to eat.
When you’re ready to serve the salad, divide the spinach by the number of people you’re serving.
Add the spinach to the serving bowls before spooning some of the squash and onion into the centre.
Spoon a circle of beetroot and lentil mixture around the squash.
Crumble some of the feta over the salad using your hands.
Repeat with the walnuts.